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Men’s Interhall Football: Keough passing game to test O’Neill defense

Kate Donlin, Jay Fitzpatrick, and Sarah Thomas | Friday, September 22, 2006

Keough vs. O’Neill

The Keough Kangaroos hope to rebound from a disappointing loss last week and upset the Angry Mob from O’Neill this Sunday at 2 p.m. The ‘Roos will have their hands full, however, judging by the defensive dominance O’Neill demonstrated in its 7-0 victory over Dillon last week.

Besides seeking their first win of the season, the Keough players are especially geared up for this weekend’s game because O’Neill ended their season last year. The O’Neill defensive line managed to stop Keough’s 2-point-conversion attempt, allowing the Angry Mob to walk away with a close 14-13 victory and securing its position in the playoffs.

Last week the Keough offense had a tough time moving the ball down the field. In this week’s matchup it will look for the open receivers and take advantage of holes in the Angry Mob’s defense. The ‘Roos plan to come out strong and put some points on the board early in the game.

But the men of O’Neill are ready.

“This week’s game is a rivalry game between us and Keough. It should be fun and exciting,” O’Neill captain Pat Conley said.

Although the O’Neill team showed the quality of its defense in last week’s shutout versus Dillon, Conley said there is always room for improvement.

“We learned a lot from last week’s game,” he said. “Our offensive and defensive linemen are the key players in our games. If they control the line of scrimmage, we control the game.”

Alumni vs. Morrissey

Alumni is coming off a big win last weekend versus Stanford, and the team will look for similar results when it goes head to head with Morrissey on Sunday.

Morrissey had a bye in week one, so the team hopes to start the season on a positive note. The team has practiced for an extra week and feels prepared to take on the Dawgs.

“This week in practice we are focusing on getting ready to play with higher intensity to get ready for the faster speed of games compared to a practice,” Morrissey captain Steve Klein said.

Last week, Alumni’s defense led the team to victory. Stanford was unable to get any running game going against the Dawgs’ defensive line. One definite advantage Alumni has over the Manorites is that it has already played a game this season. Not only were the Alumni players able to see how things came together on the field, but they also learned what areas of their game need improvement. This week the Dawgs made a few minor adjustments to their game plan to fix issues they noticed during the first matchup.

Klein does not think the first week bye will negatively affect his team.

“We have high expectations for this year,” Klein said. “With a lot of returning players and several strong additions to the team, we feel that we can play with anyone.”

Stanford vs. Dillon

Stanford and Dillon both suffered losses in their season openers last weekend, and each squad has its eyes on redemption this Sunday at Riehle Field.

The stakes are high. Only one team can walk away with the coveted ‘W,’ and the other will have to settle for a 0-2 record.

Coming off a heart-breaking last-minute fumble last Sunday resulting in a loss to O’Neill, the Big Red are hungry for another chance to prove themselves. Dillon spent this past week’s practices working in new plays and formations on both sides of the ball. Captain Justin Figueredo is confident the hard work his team put in all week will show on Sunday in an improved offensive execution.

The team is “excited because it’s a new game,” Figueredo said. “They have worked hard and [their] hopes are up.”

The Big Red focused on their offensive attack this week putting in spread formation and utilizing the pass a lot more, he said.

Stanford coach Brandon McLeod said the Griffins will be much more prepared than they were for Alumni last week.

“We added some new plays and formations and we’re going to try to be a little bit more balanced this week,” he said.

While McLeod thought the Stanford offense did well last week, but the Griffins plan to play even better this week with an enhanced strategy.

Like Dillon, the Griffins had a disappointing loss last week to start off their season 0-1 against Alumni. They put up a strong defensive front in the second half, but an interception returned for a touchdown by the Dawgs in the third quarter was the last score of the game.

Sorin vs. St. Edward’s

Sorin and St. Ed’s square off in a God Quad showdown Sunday at 2 p.m. as both look to rebound from tough opening losses last week.

Although the two dorms are the only male dorms on God Quad, Stedsmen captain Ge Wang said he feels there is no rivalry between the two.

“I don’t think it really counts as a rivalry when they’re a bunch of girls,” he said.

The Otters lost last week to Carroll as the Vermin were able to pass all over Sorin’s secondary for an opening week loss. It is this secondary the Stedsmen, led by wide receiver Corey Fitzpatrick, look to overpower for a second straight week.

“[He] will have at least 200 yards this game,” Wang said. “We are a very well-balanced team this year.”

St. Ed’s will have to go through the air if it hopes to beat Sorin. The team’s running game was shut down last week against Siegfried. Wang, however, is still confident that his team will win Sunday.

“I don’t think we need that much improvement,” Wang said. “We are a very well-balanced team this year.”

Overall, St. Ed’s still believes it is the best team this season and has early championship hopes.

“We don’t see the loss as a setback,” Wang said. “We are shooting even beyond the stadium this season.”

On the other sideline, the Otters will look to forget last week’s drubbing. Their work has mostly focused on improving Sorin’s passing game. The Otters have also tried to tighten up their defense and build their running game.

“We hope to rebound this week with a solid win,” Sorin sophomore Preston Bennett said. “We will probably go out and crush them.”

Zahm vs. Fisher

Defending champion Zahm looks to rebound from a tough loss last week at the hands of Knott in a game against Fisher Sunday at 1 p.m.

Fisher has yet to play this season after an opening week bye, but captain Tom Bufalino is confident the extra week of practice will give it an advantage against the Rabid Bats.

The one main area the Green Wave hopes to improve from last season is their offense, which was largely ineffective when compared to what Bufalino considers a top-notch defense.

“We really want to establish ourselves offensively,” Bufalino said. “We didn’t have the best production last season, but with a new quarterback we hope to really set the tone offensively.”

While the offense needed a lot of improvement from last year, the defense has made few changes this season.

“Last year we were effective at shutting down the run, and we’ve improved our passing coverage this year,” Bufalino said. “We aren’t doing anything special – just coming right at them.”

But while Fisher was at home last week, the Rabid Bats were losing to Knott – a winless team a year ago. The game marked the Bats’ first loss in more than a year.

Zahm captain Sean Wieland said although his team lost last week, it would still have the advantage Sunday.

“It all comes down to game speed,” he said. “We have already played a game at full speed against an opponent and they haven’t.”

To recover from last week’s tough loss, the Rabid Bats have worked on keeping better control of the ball, since turnovers killed Zahm’s offense against Knott.

Wieland was simple about his team’s offensive needs.

“We just need to score points,” he said. “We need to play better offensively, and that’s one of the key parts.”

Siegfried vs. Knott

Siegfried and Knott, both coming off big wins, will face off in what promises to be a tough game at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Siegfried dominated the Stedsmen last week with a powerful rushing attack but was only able to put up seven points in the win. Looking to beat their Mod Quad rival this week, Siegfried plans to finish drives and put the ball in for touchdowns more often.

Senior captain Matt Wopperer led the Ramblers’ rushing attack with 59 rushing yards.

Knott, on the other hand, soundly beat Zahm 12-0, a vast improvement from last season when it went winless. The Juggerknotts’ offense was led by talented junior running back Trey Patrick, who put up 70 yards against a strong Zahm defense.

Knott’s defense was also solid in the win, forcing three interceptions from Zahm quarterback Sean Wieland and recovering a fumble. Against the run, the Juggerknotts were dominant, stuffing most of the Rabid Bats’ attempts.

Knott hopes to continue forcing mistakes on defense to give the ball to its talented offense this Sunday.